A memory foam mattress is made from what is commonly known as “Visco-Elastic” polyurethane foam which is polyurethane with added chemicals to increase its viscosity and density. It is often known as “low resilience” polyurethane foam or “Temper” foam. The open cell structure of memory foam will react to your weight and your heat to mould into the shape you press against it.
Memory foam came from Nasa to Mattresses in just 25 years. The Nasa research centre wanted safer airline cushions and so came up with “Temper” foam. It was manufactured by pumping gas into a polymer matrix. The open cell solid structure matched the pressure pressed against however it would slowly revert back when the pressure was taken off. It was then commercialised and used for medical uses. Things like X-ray table pads and the liners in football helmets. The manufacturing process was difficult and had unreliable results. In the 1980s few people were willing to work with it. In 1991 the Swedish “Tempur-Pedic” mattress was born and helped launch the company “Tempur World”.
A memory foam mattress was mostly used for medical reasons. Its adaptive nature made it easier for ill people to lay more comfortably and still on an X-Ray bed. Immobile people laid on a firm mattress for extended periods of time are liable to get bed sores and eventually gangrene. This was thanks to the blood flow being slowed down or halted over the bony regions of the ill person. It’s use in football helmets too was popular, as the shape moulded itself onto the players head, making it more comfortable and adding an extra layer of protection. People suffering from long term pain could use memory foam pillows and mattresses to ease their pains.
The qualities of a memory foam mattress are two fold. There is higher density memory foam which softens when body heat is pressed against it, so a warm body will mould its own shape within a few minutes. The lower density foam will mould itself quicker and bounce back quicker. This means that higher density foam mattresses will make it a little more difficult to turn over, but will retain heat better and mould into the shape you have settled in. The low density will make it easier to turn over, but will bounce out of you comfortable position if you move when didn’t want to.
The good thing about memory foam in bedding in general is the fact that on flat surface your body laid on its side is being pushed back on at a few points. Normally this is the pelvis, knee, feet, shoulders and head. On a spring mattress you are still on these points however the pressure is spread over a wider area as the mattress moulds to your chest and thighs, etc. A mattress made with memory foam will spread out the pressure evenly across all of your body. This is not like a water bed, where the heaviest points sink the furthest. This mattress will mould to the shape of your body so that your weight is distributed far more easily than spring mattresses. Thanks to the popularity of memory foam and its increased sales, the price of it has now come down so that most people may enjoy its benefits.